Spreading Ideas

Press Release

‘Complete Care’ Improves Patient Outcomes

The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety praises Kaiser Permanente’s Chronic Care Management Model

October 23, 2013



Male physician standing in foreground with woman physician at computer in background

PASADENA, Calif. — Complete Care, a collaborative approach to meeting patient needs, is improving outcomes for Kaiser Permanente patients. Results from the program are featured in the November 2013 issue of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, and described in a journal editorial as “a dramatic and impressive example of what is possible with a carefully designed and implemented system-level intervention.”

“Complete Care leverages Kaiser Permanente’s technology, our integrated system and our dedicated care teams to ensure that patients with complex chronic conditions receive the proactive support, coordinated care, and follow up they need to maintain optimal health,” said Michael Kanter, MD, regional medical director of quality and clinical analysis, Southern California Permanente Medical Group, and lead author for the article.

Kaiser Permanente is committed to improving the quality of care across all of its regions, and in 2005 the organization launched the Complete Care model in Southern California with the goal of transforming care for healthy members as well as members with chronic conditions and multiple health issues.

The design of Complete Care is based on the Chronic Care Model, which originated from a combination of scientific literature undertaken by The MacColl Institute for Healthcare Innovation in the 1990s. Complete Care is also rooted in an analysis of best practices in coordinated care for patients with chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes and hypertension, and extends this model to prevention and wellness.

Complete Care has helped Kaiser Permanente create rare disease programs for patients with Down Syndrome, spinal cord injuries, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease), and is flexible enough to allow for management of most conditions seen in an outpatient setting. It works in conjunction with care management programs, which promote exercise, obesity management, screen for aortic aneurysms and alcohol overuse.

Bringing together the power of the electronic health record system, Kaiser Permanente HealthConnect®, and the care management outreach approach that empowers clinicians and staff to better utilize the one-on-one time they have with each patient, Complete Care includes the practice of “Proactive Office Encounters.”

“Proactive Office Encounters ensure that no matter where patients access care, we are able to address all of their health care needs through a personalized, evidence-based approach. Our goal is to help patients get and stay healthy,” said Dr. Kanter.

The POE involves all health care team providers — physicians, receptionists, medical assistants, nurses and pharmacists — to address patient needs. Using electronic checklists customized to each patient, support staff is able to proactively identify “care gaps” — such as the need for screenings and other preventive care. Caregivers proactively contact patients to encourage them to address these gaps.

During these conversations, clinicians help patients schedule preventive care screenings, provide medication adherence and health education information, and remind them to keep the follow up appointments that will help them achieve their own best health. Bringing the entire care team into this process has improved the consistency of preventive care, the quality of chronic conditions care and reliability of staff support for physicians. It also motivates staff to respond while they have the attention of a receptive patient.

Over the past six years, Kaiser Permanente has shown steady improvement in its quality scores as reported by the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (commonly referred to as HEDIS®), a set of 51 publicly reported quality metrics. Specifically, in Southern California, Kaiser Permanente improved an average of 13 percent, as compared to 5.5 percent for the average health plan, according to Quality Compass, a comprehensive national database for the National Committee for Quality Assurance. Across all of its regions, Kaiser Permanente ranked in the top 10th percentile for many of the measures tracked and leads the nation with the most No. 1’s in HEDIS® Commercial and Medicare measures.

Authors of the article are Michael H. Kanter, MD, Gail Lindsay, RN, MA, Jim Bellows, PhD, and Alide Chase, MS.

About the Kaiser Permanente Care Management Institute
The Kaiser Permanente Care Management Institute was established in 1997 to optimize care quality and to further the Kaiser Permanente mission in improving the health of our members. CMI spreads clinical best practices, develops integrated care delivery models with regional partners, and supports the national program by working with physicians, clinical experts and leaders throughout Kaiser Permanente. CMI seeks to transform care delivery throughout Kaiser Permanente by “Making the Right Thing Easy to Do.” For more information, go to: kpcmi.org.

About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 9.1 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: kp.org/share.